2012 NFL Draft: Late-Round Sleepers the Green Bay Packers Must Target
The Green Bay Packers have plenty of holes that need to get filled for the 2012 season. They will need to use every draft pick wisely to bring the Packers back to the Super Bowl.
The late rounds in the NFL draft are always full of sleepers.
At some positions, like at running back for example, there is a greater potential to grab a sleeper and turn that pick into a starter.
Let's take a look at some sleepers in this year's draft that the Packers need to keep their eye's on.
With Ryan Grant hitting free agency, it looks like the Packers will need a running back. They ranked 27th in rushing yards per game last season and need to improve their depth in the back field.
In this year's draft, there is only one running back who stands out above all others, Trent Richardson. After the Alabama star, there is not much separating the running backs.
San Diego St. running back Ronnie Hillman is projected to go in the fifth or sixth round in this year's draft. He would be a great steal for the Packers as he can have an immediate impact with the team.
Hillman has a great ability to find the hole and his a great open-field runner. While he is small in size at 5'8", Hillman has a very strong stiff arm that he uses to break tackles. His quick legs help in cutting on a dime without losing any momentum.
With San Diego St. last season, Hillman averaged 5.5 yards per carry and scored 19 touchdowns.
Logan Harrell was a very effective defensive tackle at Fresno State. In his last two seasons, Harrell averaged 16.5 sacks.
However, at 6'2" 278 lbs, Harrell is considered undersized to play defensive tackle. A transition to defensive tackle for a 3-4 defense may be in the cards.
The Packers will be looking to upgrade their defensive line during the draft. It has been speculated that a pick can be used for a defensive end as early as the first round.
Even if the Packers do use a pick for a defensive end early, Harrell should still be taken. He would provide depth to a position that is one of the weakest on the team.
Harrell has good speed coming off the edge and fits well with the speed defense the Packers have. He has a good first step and is very quick at cutting through holes.
Coryell Judie had a great combine performance that raised his draft stock.
The Texas A&M cornerback plays his position aggressively and is great at bump-and-run coverage. He plays bigger than is size (5'11" 195 lbs) and isn't afraid to make the big hit.
With the health of Nick Collins still in the air, the Packers need to have some extra depth in their secondary. If Collins can't play, Charles Woodson may be asked to move to safety, weakening the cornerback position.
Judie is a mini Charles Woodson, possessing great athleticism and great awareness.
Even if Woodson stays at cornerback, he does not have much time left in the league. Judie would be good competition for Sam Shields at the cornerback position. Shields has been known for not tackling well. However, entering training camp with the hard-hitting Judie, it might just wake Shields up enough to start becoming a better tackler.
Judie should be high on the Packers' radar as he has the potential to be a star in the NFL.
The Packers' biggest strength is at wide receiver.
However, the future of Donald Driver is up in the air and they should draft another receiver late in this year's draft.
The Packers do have Randall Cobb waiting in the wings to fill the roster, but the front office needs to look at Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs.
Childs is 6'3" and would be a great red zone target for Aaron Rodgers. He works well in press coverage as he has a size advantage over most cornerbacks.
Childs had a knee injury in 2010 which seemed to affect his game in 2011. That lowered his draft stock as scouts are a little wary about him.
However, the Packers need to see what Childs can bring to field.
Childs is a deep threat down the field with his quickness off the line and his ability to catch the ball at its highest point. Another great quality is his route running. Childs can change directions without losing a step and is great at baiting defenders.
Rodgers would love to play with a player like Childs. The Packers will be lucky if he is still available in the fifth round.
If he is, they shouldn't pass on him as he could be the biggest steal in the 2012 draft.